Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Stage 3 of The North American Odyssey under way!

Dave and Amy Freeman recently set out to undertake stage 3 of the North American Odyssey, a three year, 11,700 mile journey across North America by kayak, canoe, and dogsled, sponsored by Wenonah Canoe and Current Designs. Their goal is to use their journey as a platform for gaining support and protection for North America’s waterways and wild places, while actively engaging over 100,000 elementary and middle school students in their journey though their website and live school assemblies.

Dave stopped by Wenonah Canoe last week to pick up their expedition logoed Kevlar ® Ultra-light Itasca Canoe that they will use later this spring when the ice thaws in central Canada and they begin stage 4 of the adventure. Read more from the North American Odyssey Blog.

“Greetings from Norman Wells, Northwest Territories, Canada! We arrived just a couple of days ago. Ellen, Van, Dave, and I spent ten days driving all the way from Minnesota. We hauled our twelve sled dogs, two sleds, plus most of our food and dog food in a big trailer. Ten days on the road might seem like a long time, but really all of the planning and preparation for this trip took much longer. About a year ago we began to research our route and contact people living and traveling in the area. Months ago we began training our two dog teams. Then we had to construct our dogsleds, pack our food, arrange school visits, and gather our equipment.

Now that we are in Norman Wells, we still have our final preparations to make. We will be here for about a week before we hit the trail and there are lots of things to do. We are getting used to the extreme cold and getting the dogs used to the terrain by running them almost every day. We are sorting through our equipment – making sure we have what we need and eliminating things that aren't absolutely necessary. We are talking to local hunters and trappers to ask about the trail conditions from here to Tulita. Dave is shuttling our vehicle and trailer south to Fort Resolution. We will visit the Mackenzie Mountain School here in Norman Wells. We are also researching local animals and plants to share with you on the website.

Our planned route is about 900 miles (1,448 km). This will take us about 80 days traveling by dog team. We will travel through seven communities along the way. If you were going to travel for 80 days, what would you bring with you? Keep in mind that you are traveling in cold weather. . . what would you wear? What would you bring to eat?

We can't wait to begin the expedition and we are so glad that you will be traveling with us! We look forward to the things we will learn, the advice you will give, the questions you will ask, and the important decisions you will make. Thanks for joining us as we learn about this land in the far north!”

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Innovation Never Hibernates at Current Designs!

Neither record snow fall, nor developing ice pack interferes with the Current Designs Design Team’s new product development. With air temperatures in the single digits and the ice pack forming on the Mississippi River, the Design Team put their newest hull design into water trials this week. Dana Henry was the only team member who admitted having a dry suite close at hand so was instantly promoted to “test paddler” although some might say “victim”. We located the last remaining open water along Winona’s scenic levee and put the design through its paces. With Dana on the water and other team members studying from the shore, the hull’s performance characteristics were evaluated and scrutinized. Is the hull clean through the water? Is the hull balanced correctly under the seat? Is the maneuverability on target? Tracking, efficiency, glide, speed…are these up to the Design Team’s targets and expectations? We now have the answers. Stay tuned for the results!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Current Designs Celebrates Another Great Year!

Wenonah Canoe and Current Designs held our annual holiday party this past weekend. Over 115 employees, friends, and guests made their way to Jefferson's Pub and Grill in Downtown Winona, MN to celebrate another great year of business. The evening was filled with delicious food, rockin music, and great company.

The highlight of the evening was the awards ceremony where owner and founder Mike Cichanowski handed out the "Years of Service Awards". It is a Wenonah Canoe tradition to award employees that have been with the company for five years a specially engraved paddle in recognition of their commitment. Every five years after that they receive a plaque to add to their paddle. This year Mike C. was proud to hand out more service awards than ever before. 19 employees received recognition including eight 5 year, five 10 year, two 15 year, a 20 year, a 25 year, and two 35 year awards! Very special recognition and gifts were given to kayak plant manager Dave Thill and Rick Thrune who have been with the company for an astounding 35 years! Employees like this are what makes Wenonah Canoe and Current Designs so special, dedicated hard workers that have spent their whole working career helping form the company into what it is today. A big thank you goes out to all our employees and their families this holiday season.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"Untamed Science" Invades Current Designs Kayak Factory

Producer Dan Bertalan & host Suze Roots from video production company Untamed Science visited the Current Designs Kayak factory last week to film an educational video featuring rotationally molded kayaks. The video segment will be featured on a DVD alongside a high school Chemistry text book to be released in 2011. The exact content of the video is a secret for now (can't spoil it for the kids!), but it was a great time working together both in the factory and on the water. Bill Kueper, Vice President of Wenonah Canoe, who also sports a PhD in Chemistry from The University of Kansas, impressed everyone with his uncanny acting abilities......who knew?

Learn more about Untamed Science at:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Current Designs Launches New Logo

Current Designs is excited to unveil a sweeping transformation of its brand identity including a new logo, boat graphics, and website update. The new look is designed to reflect the high performance style and grace that Current Designs Kayaks are so well known for.

“Over the last 5 years we have added new cutting edge models while expanding our line to over 30 performance designs”, said Mike Cichanowski, owner of Current Designs and Wenonah Canoe. “The style, look, outfitting, and paddling performance of our kayak designs has never been better, and it was time to update our aged logo to reflect that.”

The new Current Designs logo is available for download on our website at If you’d like a full set of logos, including vector format please contact

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The New and Improved Whistler!

Re-designed for 2011, we updated this old favorite with a modernized deck profile, keyhole cockpit, and recessed deck fittings. Now featuring increased foot room, the Whistler is a great option for paddlers wanting to move up from a recreational kayak, or start out with a more seaworthy transitional design. Stable and very user friendly, the upswept bow makes the Whistler highly maneuverable while keeping you dry when waves kick up. A great boat for activity oriented paddlers like photographers or fisherman. Offered with an optional rudder.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Model Introduction!- Kestrel X Series

New for 2011 we introduce the Kestrel X series, full-sized recreational style kayaks designed to comfortably fit paddlers of any size and put even the most wary beginners at ease. Extra deep and wide, the Kestrel X's feature generously sized cockpits for easy entry, as well as two composite bulkheads and storage compartments for maximum capacity. The largest members of our recreational family they are extremely stable and maneuverable. The Kestrel 120 X and Kestrel 140 X paddle as efficiently as any of our recreational designs and are a great option offered in our light weight composite hybrid layup. The Kestrel 120 X roto is great for beginners of any size who want to get into the sport on a budget. The Kestrel 140 X is offered with an optional rudder. Find specs and price information on the new Kestrel X series on our website!